The U.S. has a problem; its farmers are getting older.
”The average age of the American farmer is 58.3 years old and locally, it’s probably more upwards towards 60 to 68, somewhere in that range,” said Amanda Robertson with the USDA.
Two percent of the population is directly employed in the agriculture business according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
With farmers getting older and retiring, this population is slated to get smaller.
“There is a need there for us to get young folks involved in agriculture because we all like to eat, we like to have food, shelter and clothing and those individuals (farmers) are critical to us every day,” said Robertson.
The USDA is trying to reverse this trend through their farm services agency’s Beginner Farm Loan Program.
The program offers two separate loan options, the direct ownership or operating loans which top out at $300,000, and a smaller micro loan that tops out at $50,000, each with no down payment needed.
” It opens the door for a lot of our beginning farmers, as they may struggle. A lot of folks may not have the 20 or 15 percent for a down payment on a loan,” added Robertson.
The USDA hopes that this program not only gets more young people into farming, but also more first time farmers into the ag business.